After having brought back the rented car to Osnabrück we left Wallenhorst (bei Osnabrück) on Monday the 13th of August at 11:19 AM, planning tot cruise towards the end of the Mittelland Kanal. Well, we did and moored at 2:28PM in a side-arm, close to a place called Hörstel (Being a ‘Kleinstadt’, which is a little town, mostly with regional importance, inhabited by 5.000 to 20.000, according to a German concept.) Here we are, on the last remaining spot. How lucky we are indeed!
Next to us lorries were unloading their load of large boulders into a floating container in a way as shown with the left picture. The container was pushed forward, dependent on the...
...state of the load, bit by bit by a motorised pusher, already visible at the first picture. That created some wash and made us strictly tie up our little ship, thus avoiding to get blown away.
The next day we were planning to do some jobs -well, at least one job- but the weather (rain at last!) ‘forced’ us to leave at 10:34AM. The Mittelland Kanal was changed for the Dortmund-Ems Kanal at 11:15AM and the first lock on the latter, Bevergern, entered at 11:36AM. We descended over 8 meters (26.5 feet), illustrated by this picture. The high sill emphasizes the difference in level, the movable gate the depth of the canal, the rain jacket the exceptional weather and, last but not least, the better half of our crew shows her distinct skills.
Entering Rodde lock
We cruised together with/behind a large tanker, here seen entering the second lock for that day, named Rodde. According to our information the width of a lock like this is 10 meters (over 33 feet). As you can see a tanker of this type (there are many) just fits. They are indeed 9,5 meters (31,5 feet) wide and enter every lock at a snail’s pace. We, however, keep our distance because the...
Leaving Rodde lock
...swirling water, disturbed by the propeller(s) of a large ship, makes steering a smaller ship at least difficult – if not impossible at all. Notice the wheelhouse in the normal position on the first picture and lowered on the second, to make leaving the lock possible. There’s a beam at the exit of the lock, preventing the large ships to touch the lock-equipment and/or bridge.
It was our plan to descent the third lock, Altenrheine, also that day. But we didn’t and, instead, moored at 1:32PM in a space next to the lock, in former days the second of a pair,...
Time to relax
...now disused. Meanwhile the weather had improved, making it possible at least to put an easy chair outside and either read something or have a direct look at the busy lock.
As explained before these types of locks are not just for canoes. They can accommodate really big ships. And strikingly painted, too! The captain’s head is just visible on top of the folded down wheelhouse...
...of the purplish decorated ship. He’s using a headset, communicating with a crew member at the bow, some 60 meters in front of him. Note or own ship in the right-hand background on the left picture.
The weather was back on its old sunny –not to say heat- the next day, Wednesday. Therefore:...
...job-day. She cleaned the front dog-box thoroughly and he oiled it twice (same for the...
...mast). The remaining dirt on the roof was cleaned in co-operation. More jobs to follow coming week(?).
After two nights (Alten)Rheine was left behind at 8:16AM. We notified the lock-keeper about our wish to descent; he informed us about water scarcity. We had to wait 58 minutes before a commercial ship appeared (at last!) and we could go down together. (This coincidental choice of words does not mean anything sinister.) That was repeated at two more locks (Venhaus and Hesselte), until another commercial ship -just finishing unloading in front of us- joined our friend for the day (‘Vaterland’), forcing us to wait for the next commercial ship. We were saved by a Dutch, even Friesian, one (‘Deviatie’) after 35 minutes. Not bad after all. Here we are seen, in Lingen’s Alter Hafen (old harbour) where we switched off our engine at 3:16PM.
Full of good intentions we left the next morning, Friday the 17th, Lingen at 11:03AM. It was our plan to tackle the remaining part of the Dortmund-Ems Kanal, followed by the entire Haren-Rütenbrock-Kanal (HRK), eventually returning to our home country. This plan ‘died in beauty’: after descending three locks without any delay we contacted the manager of the HRK, to be told that 4:00PM was too late to start and ‘do’ the entire canal (there’s hardly any stopover possibility along this stretch of water.) So we contacted Haren’s marina and asked for a space. There was one indeed. A wide one, too. We settled at 3:51PM. In fact the Dortmund-Ems Kanal is here the very river Ems itself. Not much current at present as a matter of fact.
A picture of the (first) lock, leading from the river Ems onto the Haren-Rütenbrock-Kanal. More about this canal on https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haren-Rütenbrock-Kanal, unfortunately only in German. (Not even in Dutch – shame on us!!) The canal is important, as it is only one of the three water-connections between The Netherlands and Germany. The other two: via the Waddenzee (Wadden Sea) into the mouth of the Ems (disadvantage: see-ish, salt water) and, more to the south, via the river Rijn/Rhine/Rhein/Rhin (disadvantage: (strong) current, busy, Rheinpatent necessary). Navigating the HRK is guaranteed by a German-Dutch border-agreement, dating from 1976. May it last long!
On Saturday the 18th of August 2018 we entered the HRK at 10:07AM, after making some turn-arounds on the Ems (almost one hour) because the HRK-computer-system had broken down. We were together with a rather large cruiser-type boat, seen here behind us. If possible boats are combined to a small flotilla for at least an organizational reason, because the entire canal (4 locks and a fair number of movable bridges) is served from the first lock. Note the reflection of the German flag on our mast, not long after this moment to be replaced by the (provincial) Drentsche flag after re-entering The Netherlands. (We forgot that the HRK, when turning to port, for a short time enters the province of Groningen. Oops, shame on one of us – him.)
The last lock in Germany, here not in use (it was when we entered Germany) with the blue sign of The Netherlands in the background,...
...followed by actually passing it. The German flag is replaced by the Drenthe one. (Groningen, Friesland and Overijssel are the other three.)
The first Dutch lock, immediately after turning to port from underneath the lift-bridge (just visible behind the flag of our neighbouring ship). It was a tight bend, followed by a squeeze-in into the lock. We survived unharmed.
We switched off the engine at Emmer-Compascuum (meaning the village green (‘meent’ - Dutch) of Emmen) around 2:30PM, thus making a cruise of some 3 hours. That made the lock-keeper’s decision, not to let us enter the HRK around 4:00PM the day before understandable, as his working-day ends at 6:00PM.
We ‘fell with our noses in the butter’, because a bunch of Shanty choirs was performing in Emmer-Compascuum yesterday afternoon, Saturday the 18th of August 2018. This was the funniest, most entertaining, one. From Germany, by the way. But hey! They sang ‘Als de klok van Arnemuiden’ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZYT8P0Qbow) in acceptable Dutch!
The best one, however, was this Dutch Shanty choir, De Sjompiesingers from Gramsbergen. Unfortunately we could not make a short video of them: not in the right position (or too amazed). But there’s compensation, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1L03B_Yfk94. One of the many links, mind you! Why did we conclude that the only-male choirs easily outsang the mixed choirs?? (To be honest, the Prinsengrachtconcert on tv that night was better.) Bye for now.